Psychology 396: Directed Research is a course in which undergraduate
students can get the experience of being a part of an active research
program in Psychology, and earn credit for assisting faculty members
and graduate students with their research. You must have successfully
completed Psch 242 (Introduction to Research in Psychology) to
participate in directed research (Psychology 396).Time commitment is
generally 3 hours of effort per week for each hour of credit. Number of
credit hours is arranged with the faculty sponsor, and can range from
1-3 hours. (A combined maximum of 8 credits from 396, 397 and 399 can
be used toward the degree). Tasks can involve a wide range of
activities from any or all phases of the research process, including
assisting with library research, data entry or coding, animal care and
training, human participant recruitment or interviewing, preparing and
administering surveys, or running experiments. Specific tasks and
topics of research are completely determined by the Faculty Sponsor, so
every 396 experience is a little different!
In order to enroll for this course,
you must have a faculty sponsor. To find a faculty sponsor, we
recommend visiting the UIC
Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) Website. To find
research opportunities, go to "Search for research experiences"or type
words of interest (e.g., cognitive development) into the search box
shown at the top of this page. The keyword search acts like a
simple search: If a researcher's profile contains the word(s) of
interest you type in, the profile will be displayed. Or, you may
search by researcher, college, or department. If you have
questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To further aid undergraduates and
faculty mentors in finding each other, every
Fall and Spring semester PSI CHI offers a MATCHMAKER event on the
First Friday of the Term. At
Matchmaker, researchers who are looking for undergraduate research
assistants give short presentations on their research. Contact
information for these labs is available on the research
opportunities webpage. If you find one of the labs to be of
interest, then contact them and find out if they have special
requirements or an interview process.
When contacting researchers to see if they would be
interested in sponsoring you (either through email or the URE Webform),
remember that you only get one chance to make a strong first
impression. You will be much more likely to get a positive
response (or a response at all) if your message is well written and
explains what particular areas of that faculty member's research you
are interested in. Giving some background about yourself (your
major, year at UIC, and relevant courses you have taken) is also a good
idea. DO NOT SEND A GENERIC EMAIL TO ALL FACULTY AT ONCE.
This is the equivalent of spam and shows that you could not be bothered
to take the time to research which lab might be the best match for
you. You are unlikely to get many responses if you send a mass
email. But, if you follow the advice given above, you may be able to
find a match well before the semester begins.
Once a faculty member has agreed to sponsor you for 396, and
only if a faculty member has agreed to sponsor you, then you signup for
their section of 396 online. To sign up
for PSCH 396, you now sign up just like any other course in the online system.
In order to receive credit for 396, a
final report describing the research project you assisted with and the
theory behind it is required to be turned into the faculty sponsor by
the last day of classes for the semester.
Besides 396 credit, students may also
wish to get involved in research in order to fulfill Honors College
Activity requirements, or students may volunteer for the experience.
Either way, getting involved in research labs is a great opportunity to
see the research process from the inside, especially if you are
interested in applying to PhD programs in Psychology or other graduate
Finally, for students who may be
interested in eventually conducting their own Independent Research
(PSCH 399), participation in 396 (and sometimes 397) is often required
by a faculty sponsor before they will agree to serve as your mentor on
your own project. For many reasons, PSCH 396 is a great way to
build a relationship with a Psychology faculty member here at UIC.
For more information, see the psychology department's